College Football Playoff Rankings: Utah, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Florida make key moves in CFP top 25

The penultimate College Football Playoff Rankings were released Tuesday night, and outside of Alabama's loss to Auburn in the Iron Bowl, the top of the rankings held firm. Ohio State, LSU, Clemson and Georgia remained in the top four spots. These are the only four teams that are guaranteed playoff spots with a victory in their respective conference championship games on Saturday.

Ohio State and LSU would each get into the playoff even with a loss.

The new No. 5 this week is Utah, a 45-15 winner over Colorado. Oklahoma comes in at No. 6 despite a 34-16 victory over No. 25 Oklahoma State, which further separated the strength of the Sooners' schedule from that of the Utes. So, while the committee did make one key substance-over-style switch (see below), it has not entirely committed to that mantra. Each team moved up one spot from last week.

While there were no significant changes at the top, there were a couple of moves that could impact the New Year's Six games. That analysis comes below the CFP Rankings top 25.

College Football Playoff Rankings, Dec. 3

  1. Ohio State (12-0)
  2. LSU (12-0)
  3. Clemson (12-0)
  4. Georgia (11-1)
  5. Utah (11-1)
  6. Oklahoma (11-1)
  7. Baylor (11-1)
  8. Wisconsin (10-2)
  9. Florida (10-2)
  10. Penn State (10-2)
  11. Auburn (9-3)
  12. Alabama (10-2)
  13. Oregon (10-2)
  14. Michigan (9-3)
  15. Notre Dame (10-2)
  16. Iowa (9-3)
  17. Memphis (11-1)
  18. Minnesota (10-2)
  19. Boise State (11-1)
  20. Cincinnati (10-2)
  21. Appalachian State (11-1)
  22. USC (8-4)
  23. Virginia (9-3)
  24. Navy (9-2)
  25. Oklahoma State (8-4)

Wisconsin, coming off a 38-17 win over a former top-10 Minnesota, jumped Penn State to No. 8. Florida also moved ahead to No. 9, pushing Penn State down to No. 10. That means that Wisconsin is almost certainly in the Rose Bowl -- even with another loss to Ohio State -- and that Florida will play in the Orange Bowl if LSU beats Georgia. If the Bulldogs pull of the upset, they will join the Tigers in the playoff, and the Gators will be in the Sugar Bowl.

The Nittany Lions are likely out of the New Year's Six now. I guess sleepwalking through a 27-6 win over Rutgers hurt more than just their strength of schedule. Their only chance of the New Year's Six now is for Utah to beat Oregon but miss the playoff or have Georgia beat LSU, sending Florida to the Sugar Bowl and Penn State to the Orange Bowl.

The other big move -- the one that means that the committee is finally considering substance over style -- was the drop of Alabama from its previous perch at No. 5 down to No. 12, behind No. 11 Auburn, the team that beat the Tide 48-45. That means that Alabama is definitely out of the New Year's Six. Auburn is, too.

Also moving up is No. 7 Baylor, a 61-66 winner over Kansas. It is up two spots not just because of the loss by Alabama but also Wisconsin's defeat of Minnesota.

The Gophers took a beating in the rankings this week, falling 10 places to No. 18 after that loss to the Badgers. They are now behind both Michigan and Iowa from the Big Ten, each of which is 9-3. Iowa handed Minnesota its first loss of the season. This is actually another example of substance over style. The Gophers beat the Nittany Lions, but their only other win over a team with a winning record came against 7-5 Georgia Southern. The only teams ahead of Minnesota in the rankings that played lower-rated schedules are Utah and Clemson.

The bowl projections will be updated later Tuesday night with the new CFP Rankings in mind.

Remember: The playoff does not start today. We have one more week of conference championship games to shake out. Here are the <em>paths for the seven primary College Football Playoff contenders</em>.

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Jerry Palm started writing about sports on the Internet right after Al Gore invented it. He was the first to bring RPI out in the open and is one of the pioneers of predicting the March Madness bracket.... Full Bio

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